Salad Alley (Egg Salad, That Is)



Sometimes, some of us get a bit carried away in our cooking, looking for exotic ingredients and recipes. We forget the oldies but goodies that are easy, inexpensive and available everywhere.

Take, for example, that old favorite: egg salad. Although eggs have received a bad rap in the past couple of cholesterol-conscious decades, they are making a comeback, being reinstated as part of a healthy, varied diet.

I would wager that at least some of you didn't know that the week of March 24-30 is "Egg Salad Week" (I'm not making this up). Egg salad is part of an American tradition involving a high-protein/low-carbohydrate food mixed with seasonings and bound with an oil-based dressing.

Versatile is egg salad's claim to fame. It is often used as a sandwich spread, typically made of chopped hard-boiled eggs, mayonnaise, mustard, minced celery or onion, salt, pepper and paprika. Well, that's the old American way, but there are other options.

In my seventh-grade home-ec course, we learned that eggs were never to be "hard-boiled." Rather, they were "hard-cooked."

According to Harold McGee's book, Keys to Good Cooking, boiling breaks shells, toughens proteins, intensifies the cooked egg flavor and turns the yolk surface green. Instead, hard-cook eggs below the boiling point, he says.

If you want to cook your egg-salad eggs with a scientifically proven method, here's how: Gently place the eggs in a single layer in a pan with enough cold water to cover eggs completely (approximately by 1 inch of water over the top of the eggs).

Bring water just to a rapid boil. Reduce heat and cook for an additional 10 to 15 minutes for a hard-boiled egg. Remove from heat and immediately place eggs under cold running water to help yolks stay bright yellow. Chill for a few minutes in the cold water until egg is completely cooled.

To peel, crack on all sides, roll egg between hands to loosen shell and remove shell. Voilà!


Madras Egg Salad


  • 5 eggs 
    1 green onion (mostly white), sliced 
    1 tsp. chopped purple onion 
    curry powder 
    3 tsps. chopped cilantro 
    5 Tbsps. olive oil 
    salt and pepper

Cook, cool and peel the eggs as directed above.

Chop the eggs finely. Combine with remaining ingredients.

Chill in a covered container.


Dill Egg Salad


  • 5 eggs 
    2 tsps. chopped fresh dillweed 
    1-2 tsps. sunflower seeds 
    1-3 Tbsps. mayonnaise

Cook, cool and peel the eggs as directed above.

Chop the eggs finely. Combine with remaining ingredients.

Chill in a covered container.


Salad Niçoise


  • 6 tomatoes 
    5 hard-boiled eggs, quartered 
    1 large cucumber 
    1 green pepper 
    1 red pepper 
    6 green onions (white and 1-inch green only) 
    2 Tbsps. pitted black olives 
    1 clove garlic 
    assorted salad greens 
    6 Tbsps. olive oil

Cut the tomatoes into 6 pieces. Put them into a dish and sprinkle with a little salt and leave them for a half-hour or so to let their juices drain.

Slice the cucumbers. Slice the peppers and green onions into thin slices.

Peel the garlic clove and cut it in half. Rub the cut halves around the inside of a large (preferably wooden) salad bowl

When ready to serve, lay the salad leaves over the bottom of the bowl. Drain the tomatoes and arrange them decoratively atop the leaves, with the eggs, cucumber, peppers and green onions. Scatter the black olives.

Top with your favorite vinaigrette before serving. Do not toss.


Avocado-Egg Salad


  • 5 hard-boiled eggs, diced 
    1/3 cup diced onions, diced 
    1/4 cup diced celery 
    1/2 cup mashed avocado 
    1 tsp. Dijon mustard 
    paprika, salt and pepper

Combine the eggs, onions, celery, avocado and mustard.

Stir until well-mixed. Add paprika, pepper and salt to taste.


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